Public Charge NPRM and ORR Populations

Dear Colleague Letter 18-04

Publication Date: August 27, 2018

Date: August 23, 2018

Dear Colleague:

Refugees and other populations served by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (here, “refugees”) are currently exempt from the Immigration and Nationality Act’s public charge provisions.1 Although the Department of Homeland Security is planning to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing new public charge provisions, we anticipate that refugees will continue to be exempt under any revised rule. Access of benefits does not and will not affect the ability of refugees to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR) or their eligibility for other immigration benefits.

Administration and enforcement of immigration laws, regulations, and policies, including the public charge rule, are the responsibility of DHS, the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), not ORR. With this Dear Colleague Letter, ORR seeks to reassure stakeholders that ORR expects that refugees will continue to be exempt from the public charge rule and will remain exempt regardless of any modifications ultimately made to the rule through the recent NPRM.

If you have any questions about this Dear Colleague Letter, please contact Thomas Pabst at tel: 202-401-5398 or by email at:


E. Scott Lloyd
Office of Refugee Resettlement


1. The public charge provision is at 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(4). For more information see state letter #05-02 and USCIS guidance at

Current as of: